Bitcoin rose back above $50,000 today for the first time in three months after supportive news from payments giant PayPal and cryptocurrency platform Coinbase.

The world's most popular virtual unit jumped to $50,440 during Asian trade, before easing to $50,350 in early morning London deals.

PayPal said today it will this week begin to allow users in Britain to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency through the online payment platform for the first time.

The expansion into the hot digital money trend follows similar moves by the payments giant in the US earlier this year.

The US firm said its new service would allow UK-based customers to choose from four types of cryptocurrency - bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.

They will be available both via the PayPal app and its website, with the expansion set to start this week and be available to all eligible customers within the next few weeks.

In April, PayPal-owned mobile payments service Venmo began letting users in the US buy, hold or sell cryptocurrency using its app.

PayPal itself followed in March allowing people there to use cryptocurrency to make purchases from millions of merchants that use the financial platform for online transactions.

Bitcoin won another shot in the arm today from last week's news that Coinbase was ploughing cash into the unit.

"The news last week that Coinbase will buy $500m in cryptos to put on its balance sheet and put 10% of quarterly profits into a crypto portfolio has lent support to sentiment," noted analyst Neil Wilson.

Bitcoin enjoyed a blistering run earlier this year but in mid-May it began tumbling on a range of issues, including China's crackdown on cryptocurrencies and Tesla boss Elon Musk's decision to stop accepting it on concerns about the environmental impact of mining.

The electric carmaker has since indicated its support for bitcoin, while several other high-profile investors including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey have flagged their interest.

It has now risen more than 70% from the six-month lows below $29,000 touched in June, while speculation is swirling that it could begin its push towards $100,000.

However, Bitcoin is still a long way off its record just below $65,000 that it achieved in April.